Jurgen Klopp has been thrilled by Liverpool’s response to losing some key players to injury this season, as they head into Sunday’s clash with West Brom at the top of the Premier League table.
For the third season running the Reds top the tree at Christmas, though Klopp knows that is no guarantee of success.
Liverpool have been hit by a glut of injuries this term, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez set to be miss most of the season, while Thiago Alcantara has only just returned to training.
“The group is really together,” Klopp said. “We all have the situations – the tougher it gets, in a good family, a good working environment – the more you stick together. That’s the only way I understand how you should respond. It was tough, it will stay tough. Do you put your head down or your head up?
“We have a pretty impressive group and they always find a way or a reason to fight against it. That’s what we did and what we’ll keep doing.”
Sam Allardyce – the last away manager to win a Premier League game at Anfield, over three years ago – brings his West Brom side to Merseyside next, and Klopp knows what to expect.
“It’s a mix of when Sam was at Everton and then his first game at West Brom against Aston Villa. I expect a tough opponent, well organised, don’t make a big fuss of possession and it will be a proper fight. Sam is a proven specialist for organising teams for these kind of fights,” he said.
Allardyce’s first game in charge ended in a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, with Baggies captain Jake Livermore sent off.
“Let’s try as best as we can,” Allardyce said. “I’m not saying we’re likely to win with the record they have got at home in the Premier League, but we have to try and get a result.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liverpool – Roberto Firmino
Firmino has been involved in four goals in his last two Premier League games (three goals, one assist), as many as in his first 12 appearances this season (two goals, two assists). His two goals and assist against Crystal Palace last time out made him the first Brazilian player to reach 100 goal involvements in Premier League history.
West Brom – Conor Gallagher
Gallagher has kept up his run of impressive displays and the youngster’s energy and combative style of play could be crucial in West Brom retrieving an unlikely result at Anfield.
KEY OPTA FACTS
• After winning 10 of their first 11 Premier League meetings with West Brom (L1) by an aggregate score of 28-2, Liverpool have won just four of their last 13 against the Baggies (D6 L3).
• Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 10 league meetings with West Brom, though six of these have ended level (W4). The Reds have also won all 14 of their Premier League home games against promoted sides under Klopp, scoring 41 goals and conceding just seven.
• This will be West Brom’s 18th Premier League match against a side starting the day top of the table (W1 D4 L12), with their only win in their previous 17 coming against Chelsea in May 2015, who had already been crowned champions.
• Liverpool are unbeaten in their 10 Premier League games since losing 2-7 against Aston Villa in October (W6 D4), with the Reds conceding just eight further goals in that run.
• At Anfield, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 15 goals in 10 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams (nine goals, six assists), scoring a hat-trick against Leeds earlier this season.